tv Washington Business Report ABC February 12, 2012 9:30am-10:00am EST
's no going back. captioned by the capital region. this is "washington business report" with abc7 national correspondent rebecca cooper. >> thanks for joining us for a look at business and finance in the waington region. with the foreclosure setement seeing center stage for much of this week. we will meet a pair of small businessmen that found entrepreneurship. fifirst, the story of firm that is winning national acclaim for its expertise in areas that just recently camame into existence. th jobs, the big concern of
this economy, merkle has defied gravity by adding employees at eakneck speed reaching the largt privately held nation in thecompany in the nation. vid williams joins us today to share the secrets of his success. thanank you so much for joining us. you have ben profiled many mes because you are a a very intereststing ceo. you are in theusiness of marketing when youad noo background inn marketing. you were a stockbrok. tell us what happened next. >> i w was a broker out of cocollege just a few years. i spent a couple days tryrying get m my firm representing him in the sale of that. i decided i wanted to buy the firm myself and raise some money. >> you found $5 million in loans
to buy the company. their specialty was mailing lists. you started tinkering with that recipe and you found success analytics only recently ce about. what led you to this epiphan >> i think the epiphany was -- we manage ta for direct marketing purposes. the mo information that became available, theore there was a need to monitor as that information through business insight and intelligence.. we applied that intelligence to better targeting and measurement abities of marketining. >> the cut a dry of it is it you hire a lot of reallyly smart statisticians, and they use computer technology to plug in a bunch of numbers and then they can go back to any one ofour
clieients and say -- let's use the example of dell computer's. do not send 1 millilion catalogs. target a specific audience. >> we build marketing databases of people's attttitudes, it needs and pupurchase behavior with dell. >> you are t big brotherer that a a lot of people worry about. >> we are using information that is gatherered about cusustomers and the relationships with them and we use that information to do more efficientnt marketing whicich we think helps them wer priceses and be relevant to their cucustomers. >> you would like to have the wisdom of merkle but you cant afford it. what can you shareith small and medium-sized businesses? >> i tnk the small and medium- sized businesses are in a better position today.
google analytics is a free tool for example. the ability to use highly efficient and targeted marketing today with free tools from sobody like google i i think is a bi opportunity. >> fromhat they can learn from you as an entrepreneur, you faced a series of what havedeen catastrophic faires for some. use sasaid it was having dyslexia as a kid that kept you gng. >> i am dyslexic. i think learning to o push through i think was certainlyy had a big inuence on me. >> you said you could not be embarrassed and the long there. >> yesvery much so. you ve to keep going.g. a lot of isust
perseverance. >> what were some of t the tricks he l learned in oer to keep going? >> i think part of the trick is surroundinyourself with great people. we were 25 people when wcame to merkle. we are500 today. i think a lot of peoeople are not willing to surroundhemselves with the talent t to keep growing. and the ability to keep reinventing themselves. >> yoyou do have high standards for yo empyees. to have to be welell versed in whatou need them to do, but you al say that you let em play hard but you expect them to wowork hard, too. he will give them $5,000 to goo to a boston red sox game, but en you say if it means missing a kid's recital, like a client, -- >> we are in the services
business. client have high expectations. at times, we are going to work very hard. other times, we celebrate and we enjoy each other's company. i think a lot ofof people arare not willing to seeee it that way i haveot chose that path at merkle.. >> how do you motivate people to feel like this is for the collective good? >> i think you motivate people by making their work important. we arere in control of our vision.n. we work harard every day to helpp pepeople understand our roel in goi;ng there. >> nowou are a 300 million other companany. you say you are not for sale and yet when you first got that glimmer of entrepreneurship, it was a broker. it w was always someon who started a businesand then
folded. >> it isis really about building something great. i have fun every day doing it. i do not know what pushes an entrepreneur at that p point to say i am going to sell a business. we look at externall factors. if we could not serv our employeeor cusustome we would consider it. we have not gotten to that point. >> thank you for sharing all of your tipss for successss. stay with us. after the break, the ory of a star [ female announcer ] more
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>> welcome back. we have a spotlight this week on small business, it is a testent of hard worand dermination. they started their own business. ott fitzsimmons and jusn faint of thfounding partners of f & f landscaping. welcome e to "washington business report." it was the job that you train for. you got a degree in criminology went to the tsa, they were looking for neople come up bubut you never heard back from them. you decided to get to work. tell us what have been. >> i apped to tsa. ey did not say anything to me.. i tried to do firefighting. they were hiring people that were already trained. i sentnt scott an e-mail to see if he wanted to do what we did as
kids. >> you did wt you learnened as kids but you had taken some classes inollege on how w to art a small business. did you apply any of those lessons? >> at nova, i got my asciatate in criminal justice. i took some classes to p prepare me for another venture i might take to pursue a job. >> what did you try a to do to reinvent the wheel and what are some things that other people might be able to learn? >> i think customer service goes a long way. and hard wor ambition n will make a h happy custoer. >> you all tried the hard work way by going car to car putting leaflets on the car. whwhat did you learn about marketing? >> marketing is a tough subject.
am taking another class to figure out how we canan do this other people say y you have to hearrom a a company three times before they consider something. we have done fliers in train stations parking lot, handing them out in wawal-mart. it i is still kind of tough. >> you guys are now getting business from word of mouth and are at the stage where you are able to hire your own employees. tell us about thatat. >> that is probably where momost of the money goes. weought two trucks, over $60,0 worth ofquipment so we can do the job the right w way. what we have now is a big accomplishment. i am looki forwardrd to the next yearo we can start paying oursves more.
>> one of the reasons we chose you is you really are constantly focusesed on how to grow the business. you e out there taking care ofof yourlients and then at night working on developing a client base. what else? >> what the one toto do is set up jobs for other peopl who cannot nd jobs. i am alsoo g goingo fire fight to help the community. >> so you are e volunteering at the fire stion to get the skills the s they y needed, and then you will keep this comny going to employ otherer people. what are some of the things yoyou learnedhe hard way? >>working with friendsit has been a great experiencnce and taugught me a lot nothin has really bn o hard. it is getting back good client base. >> when you hear otother people say i cannot find a job in this
economy, any sympathyy for those peop? >> get off the couch and go do something. >> tnkou for comg in today. up nextt, the roundtable takes on ♪ ♪ [ kareem ] i was fascinated by balsa wood airplanes since i was a kid. [ mike ] i always wondered how did an airplane get in the air. at ge aviation we build jet engines. we lift people up off the ground to 3 35 thousand feet.t. these engines
are built by hand with very precise assembly techniques. [ mike ] it's gonna fly people around the world. safely and better than it's ever done before. it would be a real treat to hear this nster fire up. [ jaronda ] i think a lot of people, when they look at a jet engine they see a big hunk of metal. but when i look at it, i see seth, mark, tom, and people like that who work on engines every day. [ tom ] i would love to see this thing fly. [ kareem ] it's a dream, honestly. there it is. oh, wow. that's so cool! yeah, that was awesome! [ cheering ] [ tom ] i wanna see that again. ♪ ♪
>> welcome back. the settlement between the statate's attorney g general the justice department, and five of the major mortgage lenders is ththe bgest agreement since the tobacco settlent in 1998. what does it mean for homeowners it is the question for our roundtable. joining us this week, josh boak
fr "politico," and bryant iz swity from the "shington busineness j journ." our regioion was definitely hurtin where are some of the area's going to see this money c come in? >> each state is going to get a certain amount. it is about $1.5 billion that is going to come to those areas. from the, they decide where it is going to ge delegated. an arerea that comes to mind isouour counties that have been t hard.. > thattorney general heralded a biggreement with several local officia saying that they willl get the sixth largest payout in the nation. does that t sound right to you? >> it doeoes. >> we haave seen this problem a across the board.
the administration until last attempt failed. >> what makes this effort different as the president said is a came together by a bi- partrtisan work fromom the state's attorney general. this is aa small but significantnt ack in thece. many economists s have s said this can help banks stop to get rid of their balog of foreclosuress and a start lending again to prospectivive homeowns. it iss on $26 billion. >> it is a drop in the bucket. >> a drop p in the bucket, but it is a serious amount of water just a huge bucket. >> this is so insnsignificant in terms of e larger problem, bubut it does serve the banks noticed that t they are being more carefully watched. what other parts of the progogram
will be meaningful? >> this takes three years to go into effect. they have bubut threree years to do it. we are not going to see me immediate change. the change that we do see might not be great to begin with because it is a very big buct. the interesting part for t the banks is this is not entirely bad for them. you saw bank of america see a bump in it stock. everybody knows that the banks have problems. this says that one of the problemsms is being resolved so we can stop worrying aut it. the bankhave reserved so much weight to resolve these prlems they have already put the money into reserves. >> we saw the agreement. people who were deemed to unfairly lose their house to foreclosure, they are going to get $2,000.
that is not going to get them their house back. people facing foreclosure now are going to get the opportunity to renenegotte their loans. how important was this behind the scenes for the obama administration? did they see this as a big victory? >> yes, they most certainly saw it as a big victory. you really cannot understate the symbolic imptance of ts because thpresident can now go to places like the state off nevada california, m michigan, and florida and say heris what we didid for you. we brought thehe bank's to justice. >> therere is still plentyy o of ways whichch capital is nonot out there to lend. you have been trackcking a rather obscure company that is trying to i infuse a signgnificant amount of capital in the washington region. >> thehere is this program and it
is -- >> its s sounds a lot like monetary easing. easy 5. >> it is a program where foreigners who want to come to the u.s. and get a perermanent visa can n get them if they make a $1 million investment in a distressed company in the u.s. which will create 10 jobs as a result this company is trying to use the program to get a bunch of wealthy foreigners to do this and funnel that moy into locall distreed banks over the next tw years. >> are they specifically targeting e washington region? >> ty are targeting u us in particular. this is a new company and a market that they saw w was a good place to do ththat because our economy is healthy enough so there is a good chance that the
banks that are given m money will be able to recover. >> josh, you have been seeing thee obamama administration trtry to find ways to revive the economy whether it is by attracting outsidenvestors or ththe le, but you tookok a look and said everybody needs to ttle down in terms of trying t to guess where the economy is going. >> seven months ago people were sang there was a one ithree chance that we wergoing to slip bk into recession. now nobody really knows anything. the chairmanan of the white house councicil of economic advisers says the projectioions ty put out back in septber are stale. the mold is starting to fororm. they thoht t economy was weaker than n it acactually was. >> you s the lesson is to not get too gdy with thee latest
number. >> exactly right. at the endnd of the day, we are still ting to figurureut what is driving the economy.. the predicons ththat we have usually fit in the narrative fromom the past asas opposed to o one in the future. >> should the obama administration be getting excited or should they be trying to create another stimulus program?m? >> thehey have maintained a cautious optimism. this growth has occurr despite the absence of the stimulus program. back in august, that is wn the debt ceiling debacle happened. what is changed since then? not much. wewe see a an economy building momentum. > in the areas ere u are seeing new signs of life? >>i did not give you the question ahead of time. you follow the region pretty
closely. >> healthcare is definitely one of the a areas a all over the country and certainly here as well. people are still talking about it as a high-growth area. there e a lot of queuestions ababout the future given all of the cut that w we are seeing in washington >> we could have a great 2012 but a terririble013 because so many cuts start to go into effect next year. >> statistics show it to reelect a dememocrat, and the economy improvesr -- i predict we will have an improvement. gentlemen, thank you both for joining us. after the break, our number of the week. 190 million.
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save $600 in your first two years. and don't forget your special bonus: $300 back. hurry, offer ends march 3rd. call 1.877.827.fios. call the verizon center r r customers with disabilities that's 1.877.827.3467. at 800-974-6006 tty/v. fios. a network ahead. >> okayay guys. listen up. valentine's day is tuesday. 190 million.n. that is an estimate of how manany valentine's day cards are sent every year. that puts the holiday in second place for card giving behind chstmas. it is estated that 73% of valentine's flowers are purchased by men. we thank you for jning us. we hope to see you next week.